Hoeing and Mowing

Having finally extricated myself from essay marking I was able to make a long over due visit to the plot tonight and how lovely it was!

Nothing much more than hoeing and mowing occurred but it was great to see how everything is just busy doing its thing…

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Here comes the sun!

After last Sunday’s rain we couldn’t have wished for a more glorious day of sunshine at the plot this weekend! And with all four of us there we were able to really crack on and cross lots of jobs off the seemingly endless list of things to do.

Though there is always something else to be done I think we are all really enjoying our time on the plot at the moment. Last year none of us were able to commit much time to it and when we did manage to get up there it felt like an insurmountable task to get things back under control. This year has just been a different story. The weeds are under control, as is the grass, and we are quickly filling up the beds with fruit, veg and flowers. I can’t wait to see what our harvest will be like this year!

So yes, it really feels like the sun is shining on our plot at the moment.

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Manda’s peas. She is determined after three years of trying to get a crop this year!

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Finally, finally, finally those raised beds have been fully weeded. I am going to stand by my solemn promise to never have to do that job again!

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The poppy has started to bloom and just looks amazing. I am itching for all my other flowers to start showing off too.

2014-05-04 16.51.31A new bed for the parsnips ( roasted with honey or made into a spicy soup, yum yum!)

And finally…

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No-one ever, ever said he was clever! No, we haven’t a clue what it was but he sat like that, with it in his mouth for ages and ages. Good job he is adorable!!

And finally we have a toilet!

There weren’t any official plans to visit the plot today because the weather wasn’t meant to be great but it soon became clear that in fact the weather was going to be just lovely and what better place to spend an Easter Monday than digging around in the dirt. Especially as it gave us all the opportunity to put one of our long terms schemes into action.

We have had a bath on the allotment to use as a planter for a couple of years now but somehow this didn’t feel quite enough…

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and so now we have an entire bathroom!! The sink is from Manda’s garden and as a plumber Neil gets load of second hand bath room bits. We have three or four toilet cisterns as planters on our patio area at home and they are great for growing herbs in. The plan is to see if we can grow tomatoes in our allotment bathroom simply because it seems like a good idea.

Apart from installing the new bathroom there was just lots more hard work clearing the new strawberry and french bean beds. I carried on with the flower bed weeding ( will it never end?) and Dave, amongst other jobs, got the last of the winter veg under cover.

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But as everyone knows all work and no play is no fun for anyone and so at the end of all our hard work there was also the opportunity to sit and survey our domain and make new plans…cheers!!2014-04-21 15.18.17

Lots of work and a very solemn promise

We have all had a really good week at the plot. Not just a day but several days of making real progress. We have even had fellow allotmenteers comment on how well it all seems to be coming along which is pretty much unheard of for us! Hurrah for the Easter holidays and being able to spend quality time at the plot!!

It started on Sunday and the allotment was looking very lush!Image

But not for long! Dave was able to borrow a strimmer from a friend and that long grass was soon a thing of the past! Neil is also a very happy chap because he has treated himself to a petrol mower so after Dave had strimmed the worst of it back he was able to go round and make the allotment look really neat and tidy. Well, neat and tidy for us!

We are also making great progress on the long neglected second half of the plot. We have turned the bottom section into an orchard which is looking good ( though we think we may have lost the plum tree) and Manda has worked really, really hard this week to create a winter veg plot. This is before, looking down towards the orchard, also before Dave and Neil’s strimming and mowing efforts.

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After:

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Actually she has done more since these pictures were taken and our baby brussel sprouts, swedes and cabbages are all safely netted and under cover!

And this isn’t to mention the peas, carrots and horse radish that have also been planted out.

And this is where I come to the solemn promise of the title…

Our triangular raised beds were one of the first things that we made and installed on the allotment. Over the years they have pretty much become established as flower beds and every year I find myself having to spend hours weeding them out whilst trying to preserve the plants and bulbs that I have got growing in there. This is the job in progress:
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Frankly, I am bored to tears with having to do this AGAIN this year but I have nobody to blame but myself for not keeping on top of the weeding. And so, and so, I have solemnly promised to myself that if I achieve nothing else on the allotment this year I will keep on top of the weeds in the raised beds so that next year I can do something different!!

Anyone care to share what solemn promises / resolutions they have made for their plots this year?

 

Little by little

As I said in my first post, there is no getting around it, the allotment is in a mess and sometimes this does mean just getting on with the weeding…

I had the plot to myself tonight, M and D have only just both returned from adventures in sunnier climes, J&J were both busy with work and kids and N frankly just didn’t fancy it! So, just me it was but that was ok, I plugged the ipod in and, after checking no-one was in ear shot, sang and occasionally danced as I weeded.

First I cleared this raised bed:

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It is very easy at times like this to become disheartened with it all and wonder if it will ever look like our neighbours’ beautiful plots. Trust me, we are surrounded by some really fantastic plots. I keep telling myself though that if we just keep at it, little by little, so that we don’t burn ourselves out that we can beat those weeds and maybe grow some veggies!

Then I cleared this bed:
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So altogether tonight I managed this:Image

Which I guess isn’t too shoddy really!

To finish on a positive note the lavender and the hollyhock were covered in bees. I think there were both Buff-tailed and Red-tailed bees and it was lovely to see them working in the last of the evening sun.Image

This is actually a photo that my youngest took on Wednesday when I let him take control of the camera in an attempt to stem the cries of  ‘I’m bored!’